In order to become a better & a successful photographer one doesn’t solely requires sound technical knowledge about photography. There are myriad other factors which determine the growth & success of a photographer.
Will/Determination – Anything is impossible without a will. A person should have the will to photograph. One should have in mind that he wants to photograph come what may. Only if one has will for photography, one would adopt it, experiment with it & create photographs. This will/determination should be strong and must endure test of time. A temporary or fluctuating determination is of no use. If you do not feel driven from within to create photographs, do not do so. You may find some other thing that will appeal to you which you should search & work upon to become successful.
Patience – “Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.” – Thomas Jefferson. Patience is a great virtue. Its is very true, haste makes waste. In order to rise in photography, one needs patience at every sidewalk. One needs patience while setting up the tripod, one needs patience while setting up the lights, one needs patience while waiting for the perfect landscape light, one needs patience in order to capture the peak moment & I can go on. A good photograph takes time to manifest. Sure, you may get lucky at times but overall it takes a lot of patience. If you’re short tempered you need to take a calm approach to photography. At times, you might not get the shot you desired but if you’re patient you’ll eventually. Also if you’re shooting for a client & mid-shoot any of your equipment dies on you, you need to stay calm & think appropriate solutions to get the shoot done. Such situation require a calm & patient attitude. This one quality will help you a great deal not only in Photography(or any art) but also in life.
Hard Work – There is no substitute for hard work. Armed with will & patience, continue to work harder on your photography skills. Sweat it out. Perform to the best of your abilities & capabilities of your equipment. Leave no stone unturned. Then the results will speak for themselves. Trust me, there is no greater satisfaction than getting the desired results after all that hard work.
Positive attitude – Think it, get it. If you think positive & feel the goodwill, good things will happen to you. Positive attitude does not mean you go aggressive & rash. It means to keep a positive frame of mind as you go around photographing. Its often the fear of failure which limit oneself. This fear cannot be totally eliminated but with positive thoughts it can be tossed into backseat allowing you to perform better & get the desired results. So work on yourself to remain positive under any circumstances.
All the above qualities go hand in hand. Work upon to cultivate & build upon all of them in yourself, you’ll get better with whichever art you want to master.
Photography has become less expensive since it has gone Digital. Its easy for anyone with a camera to right-away create wonderful photographs, to put ones mental creativity into action. Due to this, we have tons & tons of photographer around the globe. Its easy to get bogged down by work of other great photographers. Often amateur(& even some seasoned) photographers have the bad habit of comparing oneself with other photographers. They behold the photographers at a pedestal position & treat them as a benchmark. Its one thing to get inspiration from them but this amounts to comparison.
Due to human nature, its instinctive to fall for easily attracted bad things/habits. Its easy to gauge oneself lower than others. Its easy to convince one that we’re not good enough than to convince one we’re good if not better. Often as a photographer, we get lost in style of others photographers, their gear(lenses, flash etc) & their processing styles. Its fairly easy to get intimidated with great photographers & to see one’s work not worthy enough in comparison to theirs. Once a photographer gets lost in this torrent of comparing oneself with other photographers, his/her personal growth gets stunted. His/Her self-confidence suffers badly & getting out of this rut becomes difficult.
The best way to avoid this, is to compare “Yourself with Yourself”. Compare your present photographs with your earlier photographs. Compare your present lighting techniques with the ones you used earlier. Compare your present approach to photography to your previous one. Compare your present processing techniques to your previous ones. This way, you’ll be able to know whether you’re progressing or not. Try to better your own previous results. Try to improve your shooting, lighting, post-processing & planning techniques than you already have. This way, your confidence will get boosted automatically as you better your own previous work. Ultimately, this will make you a better photographer & allow you to better yourself over the photographers who you once used to get intimidated with. Good Luck.
2011 is all set for a grand end & we’ll soon be in the New Year – 2012. At this point of time, everybody makes resolutions for the new year as of self improvement, achieving a certain goal & even spending more time with your family. While I completely believe in making new year resolutions & following them, being a photographer you should definitely make them. If you want to take your photography a notch above & improve as a photographer, you should make(& follow off-course)resolutions. I list some, which I find will definitely improve your photography skills in the coming year.
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I love to botch up photographs. It always makes me learn something new. Like me, you too should never be afraid to make mistakes in photography. You can learn a ton from mistakes. Actually I would say, you cannot learn in a better way than making a mistake in first place & then improving on it in the second attempt.
Making mistakes, teach you photography in a reverse manner than those taught by photography books or instructors. Mistakes sometime can even be beneficial in getting good shots. Let me give you an example. You forgot to put lens hood on your lens while shooting & you get this glare in your photograph. Suddenly an ordinary photograph has become visually striking due to the glare. Off-course not all mistakes will be beneficial. Some mistakes can even prove costly, so just tread with little caution when you’re on a paid assignment. In free time, while you develop your portfolio or are dillydallying with your camera, feel free to get out of your normal routine & try something new with your camera. Purposely try to overexpose, try to move camera while using second curtain flash, try to release shutter when you’re jumping & are in mid-air. The possibilities are only limited as per your vision. I bet, you’ll learn a lot about photography & make wonderfully visually appealing photographs by following this tip.
Making mistakes does not make you a bad photographer as most photographers think. It is a way of preparing yourself for the worst & will come handy when you’re in pickle at a middle of an important shoot. Just bear in mind to commit mistakes but not to repeat them. Try committing a different mistake the next time. Have fun with mistakes & learn from them.
I’ve often heard photographers complain about they being not able to get good pictures as they are unable to travel to places. Off-course, the complain is a genuine one but not entirely true. The simple & effective solution is to shoot repeatedly in your familiar territory. A good photograph can be made almost anywhere. It can be even made into your own house, on your terrace, in your society’s compound etc.
If you want to shoot around & outside your home, consider visiting a park/monument/open space in your locality(I mention these places so you can make yourself comfortable shooting at first as these places provide ready-made photographic opportunities. Once get familiar enough, you’ll be able to look for frames even on streets, alleys etc). Frequent it with the objective of taking photographs. Go there again & again & again. I can assure you, that the photographic opportunities of a particular place are endless but only limited by your imagination. I’ve made most of my photographs at areas around my home yet many people think they are made at some far away exotic locations. Go out at different times of a day, shoot even if the conditions are unfavorable. If not a good photograph at-least you’ll gather experience of shooting under a particular lighting condition.